Gates Foundation & Internet Access

December 19, 2008

From Ars Technica:

Public libraries haven’t been just about books for some time now, but they are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the costs of infrastructure, faster Internet access, and new computers. To help struggling libraries get on their 21st century feet, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a grant program of $6.9 million that will go toward launching a pilot broadband initiative in a handful of US states.

The seven states included in the Gates Foundation’s pilot grant program include Arkansas, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Virginia, and the money has been awarded to two separate organizations. $6.1 million goes to Connected Nation, a non-profit broadband Internet advocacy group that will help these states to gather and activate various public library leaders and officials who can support broadband Internet in each state’s libraries.

The rest of the funds, a hair over $850,000, will go to the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), which will help state library agencies implement sustainable broadband strategies. The organization will also perform and distribute a series of case studies that demonstrate how other public libraries can successfully manage broadband services for their patrons.

Read the entire article here